Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy

Rachel Cusk’s trilogy– Outline, Transit and Kudos are a curious set of books. Ostensibly it is about a writer/academic. She takes creative writing courses. She meets people while travelling or as a tourist in other cities. She is always receptive to conversations and adventures. She goes on journeys. She records experiences as if with no judgement but there is judgement seeping through every page of the trilogy. It is a kind of judgement that allows the authorial narrative to subtly insert itself in the stories and share truths that border on homilies. It is quite something to read these books in quick succession. Best way to rwad thr trilogy rather than in dribs and drabs.

Reading these books during the pandemic gave me a strange sense of peace. Although there were moments in the descriptions or the people the protagonist encounters that are mildly disturbing. Yet Rachel Cusk manages to keep a tight control on the narrative persuading the reader to read on. Once done you realise there is nothing remarkable about the story told. It is ordinary and mundane. And yet it is in that very commonness of the telling that the storytelling is so revelatory — there are stories and experiences to be gained in ordinary life. Ultimately it influences the individual too. It is like a journey of self-discovery in daily existence without undergoing a heroic journey of epic proportions. More importantly, it speaks to women too in encouraging them to take small steps before realising that the cumulative effect has had the desired impact of a big leap forward — perhaps beyond their own expectations.

A set of books that are impossible to forget easily.

Worth reading.

4 Oct 2020

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